Houston Astros deliver riveting season for Texas, win first World Series title

The Houston Astros have won the 2017 World Series championship. The Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 by a score of 5-1 on Nov. 1. This marks the first World Series win in franchise history for the team. 

This World Series exceeded expectations—with extra inning slugfests, nail biting pitchers’ duels, going the full seven games and toying with fans’ emotions. Many of the games went back and forth and the outcome was never obvious.

It was an impressive performance by Astros outfielder George Springer, who hit five home runs to tie a World Series record, had seven runs batted in and batted .379 to lead the Astros to victory. Springer won the Most Valuable Player  award for his performance.

Regular season MVP candidate José Altuve’s six RBIs and his timely home runs in Games 2 and 5 also bolstered the Astros’ offense. The 5-foot-6 inch Altuve led the Astros and the league in batting average this season with a .346 mark. 

Houston’s all-star shortstop Carlos Correa also had five RBIs, as did third basemen Alex Bregman.

A major surprise of the series was the terrible showing of first baseman Cody Bellinger for the Dodgers. Bellinger—although having five RBIs and likely to win the National League Rookie of the Year award—struggled to make contact and racked up 17 strikeouts, setting a World Series record. 

Bellinger was a key component in the Dodgers 104-win season, and is a promising young player who is sure to be a staple of the Dodgers lineup for years to come.

Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson was outstanding for his team, despite their loss. He had three home runs and hit .333 for the series. The rest of the Dodgers lineup struggled, recording nearly 10 strikeouts per game and hitting an average of just .205 for the series.

All-star pitcher Clayton Kershaw also let the Dodgers down, recording a series earned run average of 4.02, considerably worse than his regular season average of 2.31. 

Although Kershaw was spectacular in Game 1, allowing just one earned run in seven innings, his performance in Game 5 is what will be remembered most. He could not make it past the fifth inning and allowed six earned runs, as his team lost in a 13-12 thriller.

Comparisons have been made between Kershaw and legendary Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax. Koufax notoriously performed well in the playoffs, however, while Kershaw’s postseason showings have proved subpar. 

Other Dodgers pitchers did not perform better; Yu Darvish, for whom the Dodgers traded in the middle of the season to sure up their pitching rotation, threw terribly in Game 3 and barely improved in Game 7, allowing eight earned runs in less than four innings between the two games. 

His failure to go deep into his starts forced Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to overuse his bullpen, especially his closer, Kenley Jansen. Jansen, normally lights out, was affected by fatigue as he was asked to pitch more often than normal.

Both the Dodgers and Astros are young teams and should be favored to make it back to the World Series next year. 

The Astros have their core of Altuve, Correa and Bregman, while the Dodgers have young players Bellinger, shortstop Corey Seager and the best pitching staff in the league. Both the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees are also threats to make deep playoff runs, losing in close series in this year’s playoffs.u